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How do I inlay brass wire?

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  • How do I inlay brass wire?

    I am going to make an edge banding of 14 gauge brass wire. The wire is 0.064" / 1.630mm thick. I understand how to inlay the wire but am looking for advice as to the best way to route the groove for the wire. My original plan was to cut a groove with a sawblade but even a thin-kerf blade is too thick. I can't find a router bit thin enough either. Is there some other way than manually cutting it with like an exacto knife?
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  • #2

    Re: How do I inlay brass wire?

    How much inlay do you want to make? If a small quantity maybe a shop made hand tool (think custom plane) might be the solution.

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    • #3

      Re: How do I inlay brass wire?

      Hi, I have a 6” diameter X 0.0625” groover for my shaper, you should be able to buy a smaller version for a router?

      If not, make a scratch stock, it may be even better depending upon your application.......Regards, Rod
      Work is the curse of the riding class.

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      • #4

        Re: How do I inlay brass wire?

        If you have a router plane you could get one of these cutter kits. i.e., a tricked out scratch stock

        Click image for larger version

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        http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/pag...=1,43314,69873

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        • #5

          Re: How do I inlay brass wire?

          I would think a scratch stock would be the way to go.

          Mine Is copied from garret hack from an old fine woodworking article.

          Nathan

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          • #6

            Re: How do I inlay brass wire?

            How about dremel bits, they come in smaller sizes and they have a dremel router base?
            Shut up, wretched cricket of doom...

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            • #7

              Re: How do I inlay brass wire?

              All good ideas. For the meantime, I was thinking this is really thin banding and going on a large(ish) picture frame. So I found .25" x .25" and 0.15" x 0.15" brass square bar stock and just ordered a bunch of that.

              I still want to figure out the 14 gauge wire inlay though. I think the scratch stock might work well for it. I did not see a dremel bit that thin but will look again. Would the below act as a scratch stock? Also when inlaying "dead soft" brass wire, am I able to hammer it flat into the groove? I have never inlayed any metal before but the artist wants a brass edge banding for this next picture.

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              • #8

                Re: How do I inlay brass wire?



                You can hammer the brass a bit flat but it will also sink into the wood. You wouldn't want to hammer it a whole lot as that's when you can easily get varying widths. Your picture frame is the anvil in this scenario. I would use a light weight body hammer with a large and slightly domed edge (as to not hammer nicks into the wood and brass). A heavy hammer would shove the brass into the wood more than it would spread the metal.

                Brass is gonna be harder than your wood picture frame I'm sure, therefore I would see it being very difficult to get the brass flat without having a beveled edge deeper than the edges of the wood.

                If you made your groove just deep enough to hold the wire straight, I would hammer it in just enough to reduce sanding the brass flush with the wood frame (is that what your going for?) If you get a rounded beveled edge deeper than the wood you'll have to sand the frame down to get rid of it.

                I'd also glue it in with something like CA glue before hammering as when you hammer it may twist. Maybe there's a better glue for that, I don't know.

                Sounds cool good luck man.

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                • #9

                  Re: How do I inlay brass wire?

                  I recently bought copper powder that I mixed with epoxy to fill a groove around a turned bowl, Leo recommended I pack the powder in the groove then soak with CA glue I believe you can but brass powder too, in the photo you will see a small dot that I think was an unmixed clump of the powder that soaked up the resin and shows a better colour of the copper, if you want this on a corner you could make the groove near the corner then plane the wood back to expose the brass on 2 sides, just thoughts.

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                  • #10

                    Re: How do I inlay brass wire?

                    Originally posted by bkrits View Post
                    I recently bought copper powder that I mixed with epoxy to fill a groove around a turned bowl, Leo recommended I pack the powder in the groove then soak with CA glue I believe you can but brass powder too, in the photo you will see a small dot that I think was an unmixed clump of the powder that soaked up the resin and shows a better colour of the copper, if you want this on a corner you could make the groove near the corner then plane the wood back to expose the brass on 2 sides, just thoughts.
                    This is an interesting method much like the technique used for turquoise I think. How much of a mess was it to work with epoxy in that manor? Did you use a slow drying epoxy? I like this method since I can just make the groove visually pleasing and fill it without worrying about cutting the groove exactly to the size of my brass stock. The final product needs to be "obviously" brass though. Shiny. Your picture it looks somewhat muted.

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                    • #11

                      Re: How do I inlay brass wire?

                      I did some work inlaying silver based on gunstock decorating that I saw on Roy Underhill's show a few years back. It would work fine for your application but you would need annealed brass or to anneal the brass. It makes for a nice decorative touch that should be akin to the request from your client. I did not use round wire but rather cut strips from sheet silver stock that my daughter bought for making rings (there is quite a bit left for another planned project); it worked a treat! I gather that you were looking to inlay straight pieces parallel to the frame edges which is a dead simple application and a great place to get started IMO.

                      Have a look at this video which shows most of the silver inlay technique: https://youtu.be/FTsVoiHd4Wc There are quite a few videos and lots of information on this decorating technique. Hopefully that would get you started on what you want!


                      Ken

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                      • #12

                        Re: How do I inlay brass wire?

                        Originally posted by WoodBob View Post

                        This is an interesting method much like the technique used for turquoise I think. How much of a mess was it to work with epoxy in that manor? Did you use a slow drying epoxy? I like this method since I can just make the groove visually pleasing and fill it without worrying about cutting the groove exactly to the size of my brass stock. The final product needs to be "obviously" brass though. Shiny. Your picture it looks somewhat muted.
                        As I said if you use Leo's method and pack in the powder dry then soak with CA glue you will get a better shiny finish, I have not tried this yet but I can see it would work.
                        With the epoxy I think I needed more powder or less resin, it is the ratio of resin to copper powder that makes it dull, I am learning this is my first attempt, I used some epoxy I had left over from a bench top I coated so it is one of the specialty epoxy's that needs 23 degrees to cure and not much working time, You would need to read some info and do some experimentation, I poured it into the groove so it was proud and dressed it off when it had cured its easy to work with wood working tools, if when sanding it gets hot it will dull as the epoxy will soften when it gets hot.
                        Using Leo's method of a groove say 1mm deep packed with the powder (brass / copper) and CA glue applied I can see has merit compared with the epoxy method, I can see if some is not quite correct more could be added then sanded after it has cured CA glue can be bought in thick or thin liquid form.

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                        • #13

                          Re: How do I inlay brass wire?

                          Originally posted by WoodBob View Post
                          I am going to make an edge banding of 14 gauge brass wire. The wire is 0.064" / 1.630mm thick. I understand how to inlay the wire but am looking for advice as to the best way to route the groove for the wire. My original plan was to cut a groove with a sawblade but even a thin-kerf blade is too thick. I can't find a router bit thin enough either. Is there some other way than manually cutting it with like an exacto knife?
                          I have turned a bowl of London Plane and being pale I thought a good place to have a copper inlay, I cut a groove not too deep so I didn't waste the powder.
                          I laid the powder in ( not easy) then hit it with the CA glue first I tried a medium the drop of CA hit the powder and curled up and dried leaving the powder below untouched, so out comes the thin stuff it would not settle on the powder but sat on the wood at the side then decided to soak into the powder so I chased it the whole way around the bowl this way I directed the nozzle of the CA towards the copper powder but it tracked to the wood then soaked into the copper, so it was a big mess I left it over night, today I carefully applied a negative rake turning chisel and go a good result I was left with 5 very small blemishes that I put a little powder in and more CA glue 3 hours later I am cleaning it up again and have gone too deep and into the bottom of the groove.
                          If only I has made the groove deeper in the beginning, its all a learning curve.
                          Start again.
                          Do it twice do it nice.

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                          • #14

                            Re: How do I inlay brass wire?

                            I may be new here and not wanting to put my foot in my mouth, but assuming the wire is round, would you be able to use a V bit in your router set to half the depth of the wire to cut the groove. This way some of the wire will be protruding and you would be able to Shave/Sand/Scrape the edge flush and still have that Beautiful look?

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                            • #15

                              Re: How do I inlay brass wire?

                              You can get very small end mills that you could use in your router.
                              Steve The Drill Sergeant
                              Check out MyShopNotes on YouTube.

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